Why Men Need Female Role Models Too

It is often said that women need strong female role models growing up, however, I seldom hear it mentioned that men need female role models too. I think this contributes greatly to a culture of sexism and misogyny. I once heard a history teacher say, “women and other special interest groups began lobbying for…” How is half of the population of the world a special interest group? Yet this is so often how it is treated, like hearing about men is normal and it’s something unusual when we hear about a woman. People dismiss women by saying “oh, it’s a women’s issue.” Even the term "gender studies" implies “women’s studies,” to many people. Every “women’s issue” is also a man’s issue in some shape or form, either because it was caused by men or because it affects men as well.  This is exactly why men need female role models too.

Everyone in our society is going to deal with men and women in some capacity, whether through work relationships, friendship or romantic relationships it is important that we understand each other. Women tend to have male role models, because there is such a lack of representation in our children’s stories, our films, our newspapers, and even our history books that they are forced to hear about the deeds of men time and time again. Yet men can not say the same thing, men are less likely to have female role models because unless they deliberately seek them out, no one is showing them female role models, at least not at a rate that comes close to representing the amount of inspirational women that are actually out there.

I think that so much of the despicable behavior that men perpetrate against women on a daily basis could be prevented if men were only shown more female role models from a young age. As a kid I remember a taunt that all the little boys would cry out at the girls was something like, “boys are from Mars and girls are from Venus.” We act like men and women are so inherently different that we are from different planets, yet we are not. We are all human, regardless of what gender we identify with. We do not need stories for boys and stories for girls, we need just plain old stories for humans. I was taught from a young age that women are capable of everything men are because of the strong women in my life, but not everyone has those influences in their lives. If we are to truly foster understanding and respect between all genders, then we need to encourage boys and men to read about, listen to, and look up to women from a young age. Women and girls have been learning about men for longer than anyone can remember, its time for men and boys to learn from women. There are lots of inspirational women out there.... so get reading!